BRASILIA, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Political observers Thursday agreed the death of Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Eduardo Campos has injected a degree of uncertainty into October's general elections.
Campos, who died in a plane crash early Wednesday while on the campaign trail, had scant 8 percent support among the electorate, but his death leaves room for last-minute maneuvering that could change the political landscape.
His running-mate Marina Silva, a senator and former environment minister, is expected to take his place, though she belongs to a different party she helped found, the Sustainability Network.
Campos and Silva's alliance at the end of last year raised expectations that they could draw the support of moderate voters that fall somewhere between the ruling Workers' Party (PT) to the left and the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) to the right.
Professor of Public Sector Management at the University of Brasilia (UnB), Joao Paulo Peixoto, believes Campos' death radically reformulates the presidential race.
"The first impact it has is that it completely changes the contest, so we start a new phase. All the predictions that were made up till now are no longer accurate. We are going to begin the campaign again," Peixoto told Xinhua.
If the PSB chooses Silva to take Campos' place, said Peixoto, it will create problems for Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who is running for reelection as the PT's candidate, with the backing of other left-leaning parties.
The professor said, "I think Marina threatens Dilma's chances much more than Aecio (Neves)" of the PSDB, who trails in second place with 22 percent, compared to Rousseff's 38 percent.
"Aecio is similar to Eduardo, a young former governor that defends the meritocracy and a difference of opinion on managing the public sector," said Peixoto, suggesting Silva represents more of a change.
Political Science professor David Fleischer, also of the UnB, said the elections are much more up in the air now, because Campos ' death has raised the chances of a runoff.
"If the party names her (Silva), the election will probably head to a second round. Marina is better known than Campos. She ran in the 2010 presidential race and was minister during (ex- president Luiz Inacio) Lula (da Silva's term), said Fleischer. " Upcoming polls may show more voter support for her than for him."
Marina Silva's candidacy will also put the environment on the political agenda, he believes, which will force Rousseff and Neves to take stands on the issue as well.
Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Campinas, Marcos Nobre, agrees Campos' death strengthens Silva and presents more of a challenge for Rousseff.
He also believes the PSB has little choice but to name Silva as its new candidate, despite her own party affiliation.
"There is going to be unbearable pressure on the PSB to choose Marina -- unbearable. She was blocked from running by the political system, and now that there's a chance for her to be a candidate, will the PSB block her too? The party would have to pay a very high price. The PSB has no choice," he said.